Saturday, December 31, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Parade of (very nice) Fools

                The late and great Mitch Hedberg once said "If a parade is boring, run in the opposite direction, you will fast forward the parade."  At the Chubby Cheeks "Get Lost and Inflate your Actual Distance" run, I was treated to a parade of epic proportions.   My experience was akin to watching a parade because every few minutes the cast of characters changed.  I met some new people, and saw a lot of people I would not have if I was actually running.  Since I could not run, and nothing seems better than a carload of processed sugar, I asked Nick if I could run the aid station. (I told everyone I had a hurt foot, which is a total lie.  I am obviously tapering for the VBM).

Good vibes are nice, but the best benefit of this experience was the high quality excuses I learned while people stayed and chatted.  Here are a few of my favorites.

"There is snow on the ground!"
"I didn't know I used my liver so much while I ran, but it's pretty much destroyed."
"I thought there was supposed to be an aid station here, did you see someone in this parking lot earlier?"
"I didn't do any altitude training.  Actually, I didn't do any training."
"No prize purse!?  WHAT!?  I only run for money.  What's the quickest route back?"
"Weeeellllllllllll, I guess if there is a ride back, I'll take it."
"No salt?!  What kind of aid station is this?"
"I stopped in every clearing to check the Western States lottery on my smartphone."
"I didn't know there were trails in Fort Collins, I had done all my recent running on roads!"
"I just got back from being deployed with the Air Force, ran TNF50 finishing tenth last weekend, spent the last week on my feet in the San Juans and this is AWESOME!"  (oh wait, that's not an excuse!) 

All kidding aside, my spirits were a little down when I woke up in the morning.  Chubby Cheeks is an amazing event and I was pretty bummed to be missing it.  As far as I'm concerned, it is everything that is right about Ultra.  Good people, good food, good beer and a sense of community in era when togetherness seems like an all-too-rare occurrence.  By the time I left the Arthur's Rock Trailhead I felt revitalized, energetic and excited to be a part of this community, as a runner or otherwise.  Being hurt doesn't mean we have to sit out, we just have to find new ways to help.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

TNF50 Ruined by Atrocious Coverage

Saturday was awful.  I ran out of Frosted Flakes after 3 bowls and forgot to put the sugar-milk in my coffee, Colorado State football traffic forced me to take a several minute detour, and I had to suffer through the coverage of The North Face 50(copyright)(trademark)(patent).  Twitter?  Color pictures?  I have an HDTV for this exact purpose - ie; to watch sports unfold in real time.  Golf was on TV today for 3+ hours.  3 HOURS FOR GOLF.  All I got was a picture of a bloody Mike Wolfe smiling at the finish line.  

So, how do we fix this problem?  Hot-air ballons are a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to float above the ground.  You could even mount HD cameras to the bottom of them!  Since most ultrarunners make tons of money, I would propose giving each frontrunner a gift certificate to Chipotle, in exchange for the inconvenience of wearing wireless microphones and giving constant stream of consciousness updates.
Plan A could take a while,  I've come up with a Plan A(1); Iphone Facetime.  Mount the smartphone on the handlebars of a mountain bike and follow the leaders.  Sell the footage to NBC, wait 4 months for them to edit it and add an inspiring soundtrack, and watch it on TiVO.  We could even get Bob Costas to narrate it!  I have lots of other ideas too, GoPro cameras at every bend on 50 miles of trail, SPOT receiver tracking, infrared cameras, trained deer with mounted cameras...the list could go on and on!

Until someone takes the initiative on one of these (I'm too poor to afford an Iphone, let alone a hot-air balloon) I'll settle for Irunfar's twittering.  I guess it's not that bad.